Thursday 19 November 2009

20% of potential online daters don't stand a chance

The Advertising Standards Authority has just upheld a couple of complaints about online dating service eHarmony.

One complaint was about the TV ad that suggested 2% of Americans were marrying after meeting on the eHarmony website. Well, that 2% was based on market research - and the ASA didn't think it was good enough to substantiate the claim.

The other complaint was about an offer to "get started at today and review all your matches for free". Completing a registration profile on the website involves answering 258 multiple choice questions. eHarmony says it's not always possible to find a match; in fact, it's not possible to find a match in 20% of cases. That's one in five people who can't even get started with the lottery of online dating because eHarmony reckons there is no-one in the world for them.

Anyway, the ASA upheld the complaint because some people wouldn't have any matches to review. And it got me thinking about the odds. On the surface it seems that finding a truly perfect match is as likely as flipping a coin 258 times and waiting for someone else to choose the same sequence of heads and tails. Which, if everyone's different and my maths are correct, means we don't have anything like enough people on this planet.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Installing a new hard drive in my laptop

Last week's excitement involved installing a new hard disk in my laptop. And here's what I learned:

  • I can buy a 320GB 7200rpm laptop hard drive from for just over £50 delivered.
  • Installing a 320GB 7200rpm hard drive in a Sony Vaio VGN-SZ2XP/C laptop isn't too difficult if you have a decent set of instructions and a couple of small Philips screwdrivers. I went to and for guidance. (I chose the alternate option in step 10; it seemed much safer).
  • Symantec has a special tool for removing its Norton anti-virus software, which deletes the odds and ends that can get left behind.
  • If Microsoft Word (Word 2003) is refusing to save your changes to the default font and page settings, it could be caused by Adobe PDFMaker, which is part of Adobe Acrobat 7.0. The PDF print option messes with the template, apparently.
  • Battery life seems better with the new installation and the new drive, which is something I wasn't expecting at all.